Internet Reviews

Joni R. Roberts; Carol A. Drost


Debates International. Access: http://www.debatesinternational.org/.

Colleen Lougen, SUNY-New Paltz, lougenc@newpaltz.edu

Debates International contains detailed information on how to organize and produce candidate debates for television and radio. The site, maintained by the National Democratic Institute, includes updates from international debate groups and debate news and analysis.

The homepage is well organized and showcases a scrolling set of photographs from international debates. The site and its resources are organized with a set of tabs on the top of the page with the following, wide-range categories: “Organizing Debates,” “Producing Debates,” “Impact and Research,” “Debates and Events,” “Stay Informed,” “Partners,” and “Countries.”

The “Organizing Debates” and “Producing Debates” sections will likely be the most helpful to the core user of this site: debate organizers. The “Organizing Debates” section contains practical resources, such as debate guides and checklists, debate format and rules, pro-debate editorials, and debate laws and regulations.

One can view resources for producing debates for radio and television under the “Producing Debates” category. For example, debate set photos show the layout for a televised town hall debate from the U.S. 2008 Presidential Debate. This section also contains helpful information, such as a production equipment list and moderator scripts.

Under the “Impact and Research” tab, there are documents and external links to polls, research studies, and analysis that explore the impact of candidate debates. In the “Debates and Events” section, the website highlights upcoming and past debates, as well as videos. The “Stay Informed” page presents highlights of recent news and analysis from the international press, activity updates from other debate organizations, and access to the “Debates Network Newsletter,” which was last updated in March 2014. The “Partners” page lists the partner organizations of the Debates International site, and the last category (“Countries”) lists all the site’s resources by country.

The landing pages for “Organizing Debates,” “Producing Debates,” and “Impact and Research” offer an advanced search option that allows search by category, country, language, etc. Additionally, there is a basic search box available on every page.

Overall this site provides easy navigation to a diverse array of documents for organizing debates, as well as coverage of international debates. Besides its core audience of debate organizers, this site may be of particular interest to students who are researching international debates.

Hunger Notes. Access: http://www.worldhunger.org.

Barbara Valentine, Linfield College, bvalen@linfield.edu

The mission of World Hunger Education Service (WHES) for the last 40 years has been to educate the public and target groups about the “causes of hunger and malnutrition in the United States and the world” and raise support for working toward “hunger solutions.” Hunger Notes: Fight Hunger with Knowledge furthers this mission by providing information on the ethical, religious, social, economic, political, and scientific perspectives on the world food problem and by facilitating communication, networking, and action to solve it.

With multiple access points to the same information, visitors cannot fail to learn something new about world hunger. A “Hunger News Categories” toolbar offers silos of content—“Global,” “United States,” “Africa,” “Asia,” “Agriculture and Nutrition,” “Book and Media Reviews,” and “Opinion” from media sources both familiar and obscure. A carousel of images, headed by links to the core mission, dominates the page. “Learn About Hunger” offers “hunger facts” across categories, special reports, pictures, and posters. “Help Reduce Hunger” connects to activities, organizations, and ways to contribute. The interactive “Take Our Hunger Quiz” combines facts with automatic donations for participation.

The overall effect is a lot of information all jumbled together in a variety of ways. While the articles from media sources may be valuable, the “Hunger Facts” sections seem to provide the most unique content for research purposes. For example, the “United States” category presents statistics with discussion about hunger and poverty, followed by causes and programs, and finishing with a bibliography.

While a search box provides some alternative access to content, the brief results can often seem odd. For example, keyword Mississippi presents an intriguing, but incomprehensible, three-line snippet entitled “1.5 Million Missing Black Men.” Googling the title reveals a New York Times article in 2015, which apparently no longer links within the WHES site.

Hunger Notes succeeds in raising awareness about the multiplicity of factors affecting hunger and poverty in the world and galvanizing the effort to eradicate it, perhaps changing minds, and even reaping donations. While this site may fall short of being the perfect research experience, it does bring a lot of perspectives and information together in one place. Sorting through what may be useful and reliable will be the researchers’ journey.

Poets & Writers. Access: http://www.pw.org/.

Delores Carlito, University of Alabama-Birmingham, dcarlito@uab.edu

Poets & Writers is an online resource for creative writers and a companion to Poets & Writers print magazine. While it features select content from Poets & Writers magazine, the webpage can stand alone as a one-stop shop for all things related to creative writing.

The top navigation area contains six sections: “Magazine,” “Tools for Writers,” “Connect with Others,” “Funding for Events,” “My P&W,” and “About Us.” Several of these sections are essential to writers who want to be published. A subheading of “Tools for Writers” is “Lit Mags,” a searchable list of literary journals and magazines. Searches can be done by reading periods, genre, and even subgenres, such as flash fiction, prose poetry, and narrative nonfiction. “Jobs” and “Contests” (including not only writing contests, but also grants and awards) can also be browsed or searched. Another subheading is “Agents,” a listing of literary agents that can be narrowed by the major genres they represent. Other tools for writers are links to writing competitions, MFA creative writing programs, literary magazines and small presses that welcome both new and established writers, daily book and writing news, employment opportunities, articles about writers, book news, and even inspiration from published writers.

Poets & Writers has much of the same content as other community sites, such as a message forum, an event listing, and a multimedia area with slideshows and videos. In addition, Poets & Writers has unique content, such as the archive of older editions of print Poets & Writers, with full text for some stories and abstracts for all pieces. A user can search the archive from 1980 to present, although a search for the word author did not return any results before 1987.

A distinctive area for current or aspiring writers is “The Time Is Now,” a set of weekly nonfiction, fiction, and poetry writing prompts to help authors begin the writing process and develop discipline. This could also be a useful resource for writing teachers at both the college and secondary levels.

The site has so much to offer, it is difficult to cover it all. Suffice to say, if you are a creative writer, this site is an indispensable resource.

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